Outfit of the Day: Uganda Edition

[[Note: This was supposed to be posted a million days ago but I started a new schedule this week (teaching from 8-1, training sessions from 1-6, lesson planning from 6-whenever I feel like I’m going to collapse from exhaustion) and I have had absolutely no time to myself. I’ll post a lil somethin’ somethin’ about my wonderful classroom experiences tomorrow since we FINALLY HAVE A WEEKEND OFF!]]

So after the seriousness of my last post, I decided a fashion update was in order.

Not to brag or anything but I have already been dubbed Best Dressed in Cohort 3. Haha. When I lived in the states I always made an effort to dress well, regardless of the occasion. No matter how chaotic my life got, when I looked put together, I felt put together. I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I was packing for Africa but I am forever thankful to my past self for packing things I knew I would like wearing.*

Uganda is absolutely no exception, even with its conservative guidelines. A very interesting thing about Ugandans is that they value appearance a great deal. How you dress determines how much respect you receive from your community. In the states, I dressed for myself. In Uganda, people dress out of respect for the other person, which I think is a great philosophy to have. Probably one of the greatest compliments you can get from a Ugandan is that you look “smart,” which I’m proud to say I’ve gotten on multiple occasions. Here is one of the outfits I’ve conjured up during my time here, an outfit of the day if you will:


  1. Shoulders covered because visible bra straps are scandalous.
  2. Skirts and dresses must be below the knees and the outline of your legs should not be visible through the skirt. Kneecaps are also scandalous.
  3. Tidy shoes. Ugandans are very particular about cleanliness. **
  4. Funny story: I left all 20 of my shoulder bags in Detroit because for some weirdo reason I created in my head, I didn’t think I would need them as a TEACHER here. Anyway, it’s all okay now because during my last trip to Kampala, I bought this great cloth bag from the craft market. I also bought a beautiful below-the-knee skirt that is now making its rounds around the dorm.

*I think a lot of people forget that moving to another country doesn’t meant that you will instantly have new priorities and new interests. You’re still you but you’re just you in a different place. As much as you can change during your time here, it’s nice to retain some aspects of your former self. I sound so wise but really I’m saying this while kicking myself for thinking I can live without a planner. Hindsight 20/20.

**Ugandans also shower twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. If you do not have time to take a shower, you must (at the very least) “apologize to your body,” which means cleaning your armpits and private area thoroughly. Suffice to say, I’ve done a lot of apologizing since I’ve been here. 2 ice cold showers in one day is just too much for me.


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